Simile Examples: What Are Similes? - Figures Of Speech

What are Similes?

You’re as sweet as pie! 

If your aunt says this to you, she doesn’t literally mean you taste like cherries or apples. She means you have a lovely personality!

By saying “you’re as sweet as pie,” she’s comparing two very different things: you and a dessert. That’s a simile!

A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two things. To do this, a simile uses like or as, which makes it different from a metaphor.

Similes, metaphors, and other figures of speech can spice up your writing. For example, you can use figurative language to create different atmospheres and make your writing more poetic.

While writing factually can be good for scientific papers or academic articles, using similes will make your creative writing more exciting and engaging.

So, let’s look at some examples of similes so you can start practicing!

simile examples

Examples of Similes Using “As”

One of the connecting words you can use for a simile is as. Simply place it between the two things you’re comparing!

There are generally two ways you will see as:

  • By itself.
  • And in this pattern: “as ___ as….”

Here are some simile examples with as by itself:

  • Jaylene brushes her hair as a cat grooms its fur. 
  • My baby brother ate his ice cream as a pig eats its slops. 
  • Her thoughts flew as a bird on the wing.

And here are some simile examples with “as ___ as…”:

  • Greta runs as fast as a cheetah.
  • The rain is falling as hard as hail! 
  • You kicked that soccer ball as high as a skyscraper! 

Examples of Similes Using “Like”

The other comparison word you can use for similes is like. You can use it the same way - between the two parts of the comparison.

Here are some simile examples with like:

  • He snores like a bear does when it hibernates. 
  • They laughed like hyenas. 

The fairy lights were like twinkling stars.

Examples of Similes for Kids

Just because something has a grammatical name doesn’t mean it’s complicated. There are lots of similes that are great for kids.

For example, here are some similes with animals:

  • He roared like a lion.
  • She moves like a sloth.
  • Quick! Hop like a bunny!
  • Albert is as slow as a turtle.
  • Penelope is as strong as an ox.
  • Ruby grinned like a wolf.

Similes are valuable tools for expressing feelings and emotions, as well. Try some of these and guess where the connector word is:

  • Matias is as scared as a mouse.
  • They’re as hungry as a pack of lions.
  • His heart fluttered like a butterfly.
  • Her stomach felt like lead.

See? When you get the hang of it, it really isn’t that hard!

Similes in Everyday Language

You probably use similes in your everyday speech without realizing it!

Here are some examples of common similes:

  • Marin was as cool as a cucumber when we were taking that test.
  • You’re moving like molasses.
  • Roger is as sly as a fox.
  • Run like the wind!
  • That bicycle is as light as a feather.
  • I thought that question was as easy as pie.
  • She’s as sweet as honey.

Similes in Classic Literature

Similes are a classic figure of speech – which is why they show up so much in classic literature!

Here are some famous examples from authors you might recognize:

William Shakespeare

  • “She sings as sweetly as a nightingale. /… she looks as clear / As morning roses newly washed with dew.” ~ The Taming of the Shrew, II.1.
  • “My belly is as cold as if I / had swallowed snowballs for pills.” ~ The Merry Wives of Windsor, III.5.
  • “Her eyes, as murder'd with the view, / Like stars ashamed of day, themselves withdrew.” ~ Venus and Adonis

William Wordsworth

  • “​​To some remote and solitary place, / Shady as night, and beautiful as heaven” ~ Vaudracour And Julia.
  • “Fresh as a lark mounting at break of day, / Festively she puts forth in trim array” ~ Where Lies The Land To Which Yon Ship Must Go?
  • “‘As sure as there's a moon in heaven,’ / Cries Betty, ‘he'll be back again.’” ~ The Idiot Boy

Homer

Homer was an ancient Greek poet who wrote several epic poems, including The Iliad and The Odyssey. And he’s given his name to a special kind of simile: a Homeric simile!

This type of simile is also called an epic simile, another type of descriptive language. But rather than just a few words, a Homeric simile makes the comparison over many lines; in that way, it’s similar to an extended metaphor!

Here are some short examples of Homeric similes: (All translations are by A.T. Murray)

  • “Even as this serpent devoured the sparrow's little ones and the mother with them—the eight, and the mother that bare them was the ninth—so shall we war there for so many years, but in the tenth shall we take the broad-wayed city.” ~ The Iliad, Book 2
  • “And his eyelids wholly and his brows round about did the flame singe as the eyeball burned, and its roots crackled in the fire. And as when a smith dips a great ax or an adze in cold water amid loud hissing to temper it—for therefrom comes the strength of iron—even so did his eye hiss round the stake of olive-wood.” ~ The Odyssey, Book 9
  • “And as a fisher on a jutting rock, when he casts in his baits as a snare to the little fishes, with his long pole lets down into the sea the horn of an ox of the steading, and then as he catches a fish flings it writhing ashore, even so, were they drawn writhing up towards the cliffs.” ~ The Odyssey, Book 12 

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump may not be classic literature, but it’s certainly a classic movie! And one of the most famous lines is a simile:

  • “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.”

Similes in Song Lyrics

Because similes are so useful for making comparisons, this figure of speech always comes up in song lyrics.

Here are some examples of famous songs that use similes:

  • “Like a bridge over troubled water / I will lay me down.” ~ Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • “And it seems to me you lived your life / Like a candle in the wind” ~ Elton John, Candle in the Wind.
  • “I’m like a shooting star / I’ve come so far.” ~ Tim Rice, Aladdin, “A Whole New World.”
  • “Just like fire, burning out the way / If I can light the world up for just one day.” ~ Pink, Just Like Fire

Similes in Advertising Slogans

Similar to song lyrics, advertising slogans use similes because they’re short and to the point. It’s an easy way to convey ideas without using much space. Plus, it’s easy for people to remember them.

Here are some examples of similes in advertising slogans:

  • “The Honda's ride is as smooth as a gazelle in the Sahara. Its comfort is like a hug from Nana…Don't be out in the cold like a wet pair of boots.” ~ Honda
  • “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” ~ State Farm Insurance
  • “Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee.” ~ Gatorade
  • “Like a rock.” ~ Chevy
  • “Tastes like awesome feels.” ~ Doritos

Simile vs. Metaphor

Ask yourself, is it explicit or implicit? Direct or indirect?

This is the difference between similes and metaphors.

  • A simile makes an explicit, direct comparison.
  • A metaphor makes an implicit, indirect comparison.

In other words, a simile is obvious, and a metaphor takes a little more thinking. Often, this makes a metaphor sound more poetic. But both are excellent for making descriptive writing more engaging.

When you’re writing, how do you differentiate between a simile and a metaphor?

It’s simple! A simile will use like or as, and a metaphor won’t use either.

Here are some examples of similar sentences where one uses a simile and the other uses a metaphor.

(Note: You can’t necessarily just get rid of the connecting word in a simile – you might need to change around the sentence or add something to it.)

Example 1

  • The clouds, like cotton balls, hung in the sky. (simile)
  • The clouds were cotton balls hanging in the sky. (metaphor)

Example 2

  • Her thoughts were like horses racing down the track. (simile)
  • Her thoughts were horses racing down the track. (metaphor)

Example 3

  • Grover packs up his school books as quickly as a mouse grabs cheese. (simile)
  • Grover was a mouse, packing his school books in a hurry and scurrying away. (metaphor)

There are different types of metaphors too, which you can read more about on the metaphor page of our site.

For example:

  • George Orwell’s book Animal Farm is an extended metaphor, comparing farm animals to events in Russian history.

Conclusion

Are you as bright as a whip now that you’ve finished this article? Of course, you are!

You’ve learned how valuable similes are in the English language, the different types of similes, and how to use them.

Here’s the general rule: use a simile for explicit comparisons between two things. And to write a simile, use like or as.

Similes show up everywhere, from everyday conversations to classic literature. So when you’re writing stories or essays, practice using similes, and you’ll be a creative genius in no time!

For more great grammar articles, check out the other pages on this site. There are lots of exciting things to explore, such as examples of metaphors, alliteration, parts of speech, active vs. passive voice, and so much more.